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Posts from the ‘Condiments’ Category

a dark Italian and a pink lady

Hah! So that got your attention? : )   (Not bait & switch, I promise –  I’ll explain in a moment. )

I love foods that dance in the mouth! Several years back I determined that I was going to concoct a   r.e.a.l.l.y.   fine chutney of my own. The result is here….and, though normally possessed of a fair amount of humility which would prohibit me from admitting such a thing – turns out, this truly is a really fine chutney! (As well as a fine & saucy dancer!)

If you haven’t formally met, let me introduce you to Chutney. (For those of you who’ve had the pleasure, just keep talking amongst yourselves. I’ll be back with you in a moment.) Chutney is a condimentmeant to go with things, to enhance their flavors, to excite and intrigue the palate. It can be made with all sorts of ingredients, but almost always with some sort (or combination) of fruits. That’s the sweet of it. (Well, there’s generally sugar too, because we’re about to make a preserve and sugar helps.) Then there’s the spicy of it – you might taste warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, allspice, star anise, cardamom, pepper, hot chilies, etc etc. And there’s the sour of it – maybe a combination of vinegar, lime, lemon. Frequently there will be a bit of onion and garlic too, but you might not know it once it’s all cooked down. A touch of salt to round all the flavors out to fullness. And then it’s cooked for a good while as all the flavors mingle and the ingredients soften to jam.

What use would you then put your chutney to? OH! You’d dollop a spoonful atop virtually any Indian dish or curry… put it with meats, or poultry (chicken and turkey love it!)…put it on a sandwich (heaven!)…put it with soft, creamy cheese (try goat!) or a salty hard cheese, on bread or crackers, on your scrambled eggs, on roasted vegetables, or on cold salmon. Honest to goodness, it’s addictively seductively aromatically pungently delicious! And you’ll find no shortage of uses for it!

{breathe………..}     So! you were wondering about the Italian and a pink lady, right? Quite simple, really, and not nearly as exciting as you might have hoped… this here sexy little chutney is made of Italian plums (sometimes called Italian “prunes” not dried out though, of course!) and Pink Lady apples. And because a very good friend and I will be collaborating on some rather scrumptious (mostly vegetarian) Indian dishes this coming season, I wanted to be sure you had plenty of really fine chutney on hand.

In the finished jars of chutney you’ll see pieces of brilliant apple, golden raisins plumped, thin sticks of golden ginger, little dark dots of currants, bits of lemon rind, all floating in a sea of plum.

Below I’ll give you the instructions for canning this chutney, though it’s just as fine to simply cook, pop in jars and freeze. You don’t need to use the Italian plum (that small one with the grey purple skin and the golden fruit inside) though it’s a fantastically delicious one. (I think it’s the best to cook with.) But use any you like…and they don’t all need to be fully ripe either. Pink Lady apples are really wonderful cooked…they hold their shape and their flavor is outstanding. But again, use any that holds up well to cooking. I used a whole lemon. Yes, peel too. Trust me on this one. Everything but the very center pulp and the seeds.

The next several posts that will be coming out over the remainder of the week will be fairly straight forward…probably a little less photography than usual. I’ll explain the (exciting) reason why very soon. So with no further delay, here it is,

The Sweet/Sour Love Affair of an Italian and his Pink Lady

Or

Spree’s Plum Apple Chutney

  • 4 cups Italian Plums
  • 1 cup Apple
  • 2½ – 3 cups light brown sugar (we like the lesser amount)
  • 1 onion (I used red for this one)
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 fat clove garlic
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup currants
  • ½cup raisins (gold are nice)
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 oz fresh ginger, julienned (½ cupful)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne

Preparing the ingredients:

Plums – wash, remove the stone and cut in approximately ½-inch pieces

Apple – Peel, core and cut into approximately ½-inch pieces

Onion – chop medium

Garlic – mince

Lemon – (organic is best since you’ll be using the peel) wash, removing seeds & center-most white part, cut into approximately ¼-inch pieces

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